The North Woods

USA – The North Woods

When the glaciers retreated from North America some 11,000 years ago, they excavated five gigantic basins that filled with water to form the Great Lakes – a freshwater inland sea. As plants and animals colonized the surrounding land, the North Woods were formed. Modestly mountainous, the terrain is a medley of conifers and hardwood trees laced by cobalt-blue skies, surging rivers, silvery creeks, and a rich array of fauna and flora.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore, national lake shore established in 1977, originally authorized in 1970. Located in Michigan along 56 km (35 mi) of Lake Michigan, the dunes were named after a Native American legend. The region features giant sand dunes, cliffs as high as 140 m (460 ft), beech and maple forests, and freshwater lakes. The park includes the offshore islands of North Manitou and South Manitou and features a lighthouse built in the 1870s. The Lake shore Visitor Center and the Coast Guard Station Museum contain exhibits. Administered by the National Park Service. Area, 28,811 hectares (71,193 acres).

Isle Royal National Park, northwestern Michigan, authorized 1931. The park centers on Isle Royal, the largest island in Lake Superior, and includes numerous surrounding islets. Isle Royale is 71 km (44 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) wide and lies 24 km (15 mi) from the nearest mainland shore (in Ontario). The island is preserved as a wilderness area and has no roads. Its landscape, which was formed by glacial scouring, has many fjordlike lakes and deep coastal inlets. The island is forest-covered and harbors a diversity of wildlife that includes moose, timber wolf, beaver, mink, snowshoe hare, and red fox; birdlife includes osprey, bald eagle, and herring gull. Inland lakes and streams abound with perch and northern pike. Prehistoric Native Americans mined copper on Isle Royal, and several of their mining pits are still visible. Area, 231,395 hectares (571,790 acres.